Treasure Island

Tom Courtney

(St. Louis, MO)

And you Think you Know What Politics is


And you think politics is all about voter registration and issues
War, abortion, taxes, global warming, and medicare

You think politics is all those candidates running for office
and you think you know what politics is
Let me tell you what politics is

Politics is a dollar in my pocket and a rock in my head
Politics is a glass eye, shell shock, and schizophrenia
An impenetrable wall that eludes your touch
Politics is a big advertisement for coca-cola classic
And the drum beat of the daily news

And just as history is the chronology of war
Politics is the seismic movement of power
You feel it and they tell you everything about it that is
of no possible value

Politics is two guys slam drunk in some local dive
not knowing what society they live in or who they're talking to
because politics is not what you see on the six o'clock news

Politics is all the reasons it got all fouled up in the first place
Politics is why they misappropriated your money
Politics is all of t. S. Eliot's 'arguments of insidious intent'

Where words are cast about like frisbees in the air
Words like liberty equality freedom justice patriotism
the meanings bleached out by the sun
and contorted by misunderstanding and abuse
Illiterate we are in our native tongues

Politics is the mish and the mash of compromise
It' s the give and take of his opinion and hers
Politics is the confluence of the 'is'
with the 'what ought to be'

Real-politick is the reality of life as opposed to the dream
It is life's approximations instead of the ideal

And there come a man and woman of the caves and jungles
displaced just a little
to occupy the high rise office structures and condominiums
They have shed the mask of thickened hide and heavy fur
and don the satin sheen of this new hairless breed
clinking cocktails
sliding loosely into believing in ideologies

Politics is the enaction of survival of the fittest
Politics is the play of those best equipped for this world
with all the tools endowed by god
and played-out without any knowledge of his existence

Politics is getting along with life
while watching those less fortunate fall by the wayside
and you watch and pray
to save your guilty soul
and spare yourself the others' fate

Politics is not a two party game
structured opposition democracy and government in the making
Politics is the color of our lives
Politics is what we settle for
Politics is the yin and the yang of our work and our play
of life and its introspection

Politics is a stale joke in a smoke-filled room
Oh! I lost my wallet on the other street corner!
but the light is so much better over here

Politics is a lighthouse beacon shining far out
into the fog-shrouded night

And politics is a baby-blue tinted disposable contact lens
on the eye of a potato

Submitted: Thursday, May 07, 2009
Edited: Sunday, May 10, 2009

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Comments about this poem (And you Think you Know What Politics is by Tom Courtney )

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  • Wojja Fink (5/11/2009 11:32:00 AM)

    Coats of Many Colours

    It seems to be Politician hunting time
    Here in the UK
    Papers full of disclosures
    Oh, he has charged us for a bag of manure
    And him, he’s getting us to pay for his cleaner lol
    Oh dear, what next
    And of course
    They all swap the coat of arrogance when necessary
    And sing from the song sheet
    That they wrote,
    “We did not break parliamentary rules, ”
    The ex Archbishop steps from the shadows
    Says the morals
    Of government
    Is at it’s lowest ebb in living memory
    Oh dear oh dear oh dear
    What is to become of us
    In this recession of morals?
    Shall we claim innocence and drag them screaming
    Singing, “we did not break any rules”,
    And cast them adrift in the Thames
    Or just ignore them?
    No you say, we should not ignore them
    Ok, who on earth are they going to listen to?
    Before something drops?
    As there is a recession on
    It’s going to take more than a penny.
    To wake the dead.



    don't they make you want to write a poem... (Report) Reply

  • Sherri Coulter (5/7/2009 12:52:00 AM)

    amen, so right! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! check my life liberty pursuit (culture war) poem summer experience of '09 (Report) Reply

Read all 2 comments »

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